(ARA) – Is installing a new deck, or freshening an existing one, in your summer spruce-up plans? If so, you’re not alone. Decks are still among the most popular home improvements as the trend towards bigger and better outdoor living spaces continues.
“Half of new homeowners buy a home with a deck or install one within five years of moving in,” says Mike Beaudry, executive vice president of the North American Deck and Railing Association. “A third of the nearly $150 billion that Americans spent on home remodeling in 2005 went towards outdoor living areas, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The deck market is expected to keep growing, reaching $7 billion by 2010.”
So what’s hot in decks this summer? Luxury touches like firepits and spas, aesthetic accents like designer railings, multiple levels and more variety in shapes and sizes top the list of deck trends for summer 2008, Beaudry says. Here are some of the top deck trends for summer 2008:
Railings – Beyond Safety
Once merely a functional element added for safety’s sake, railings are now doing double duty as deck design statements as well. “Railings are often the first thing one notices about a deck, so manufacturers are offering more aesthetically pleasing, architecturally interesting options,” Beaudry says. Hot railing trends include decorative balusters of aluminum, iron or even cable, glass panels and railing systems that combine materials for durability as well as visual effect. Also, look for mixing and matching of colors, with handrails one hue and balusters another.
“Decks have truly become the staging area for outdoor living, and designers are using multiple levels to create virtual ‘rooms’ for outdoor use,” Beaudry says. For example, a main deck might function as living and dining space, while a smaller, lower level addition serves as a kitchen area, and another level might host a hot tub. Multilevel decks facilitate multiple uses and add visual interest to the overall deck structure.
What’s more, larger, multilevel decks provide more seating, something homeowners are demanding in modern decks. “Decks that don’t accommodate more than four people are out,” Beaudry says. “Seating space for eight or even more is in.”
Indoor Luxuries, Outdoors
Increasingly, homeowners want to bring the same amenities and luxuries they enjoy indoors outside onto their decks. In response, builders are adding touches like built-in firepits and fireplaces, full kitchens with professional grade gas grills, spas, built-in benches and cabinets, shade structures and lighting – both accent and functional – to deck designs.
Just as powder rooms and breakfast nooks are indoor complements to larger, often grander baths and dining rooms, smaller, secondary decks are popping up outdoors to supplement main decks. While a deck accessed from the home’s main living area will likely continue as center stage for outdoor entertaining, smaller side-yard decks are gaining popularity. “Place a deck on the side of your house, with access from a master bedroom, and you can create a more intimate, private space for enjoying the outdoors,” Beaudry says.
Long gone are the days of the cookie cutter square, rectangular or octagonal deck. Modern decks are virtually going free-form. Piano-shaped, arrowhead and even oval shapes are appearing in back yards across the country. Modern materials, improved building methods and the creativity of designers and homeowners have permanently changed the shape – and size – of the great American deck. For added pizzazz, you can incorporate a pattern – such as herringbone or checkerboard – into the deck surface.
While wood remains the material of choice for many deck-building Americans, composite materials continue to gain popularity. Not only are they durable and often eco-friendly (as many of them are made from recycled materials), composites can now mimic the much-loved look of wood.
To learn more about deck trends and how to find a quality deck builder log on to nadra.org.
Courtesy of ARAcontent